Wednesday, March 14, 2012
SCIENCE WATCH: Danger from Raccoons
SCIENCE WATCH; Danger From Raccoons
(Taken from the Internet)
A common intestinal worm in raccoons can infect people, sometimes with fatal results, the American Veterinary Medical Association has warned.
The association's Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine noted that the parasite, Baylisascaris procyonis, has recently caused fatal infections in two children, as well as some species of wildlife.
Adults can also be infected, resulting in damage to the eyes and other symptoms.
The parasites are transmitted by the ingestion of eggs excreted by raccoons. The eggs may contaminate hands, objects or food that are put in the mouth. After ingestion, the eggs can hatch into larvae that migrate throughout the body, especially to the brain, eyes and spinal cord.
The council cautioned that raccoons frequently inhabit residential and recreational areas and the parasite eggs can remain infective for a long time after they are excreted.
The organization advised that pets and children not be allowed in areas where raccoons may have nested or been caged. It also urged people to wash their hands immediately after contact with dirt or fecal matter.